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A Comprehensive Review on Ethnomedicinal, Pharmacological and Phytochemical Basis of Anticancer Medicinal Plants of Pakistan

[ Vol. 18 , Issue. ]


Muhammad Furqan Akhtar*, Ammara Saleem, Alamgeer Yuchi and Mohammad SaleemPages 1-33 (33)


The widespread emergence of cancer and development of resistance to chemotherapeutic agents is increasing the interest of scientists in the use of ethnomedicinal preparations and isolated phytochemicals in the treatment and prevention of disease. Medicinal plants have been used in Pakistan since prehistoric times. The present review was designed to identify anticancer plants of ethnomedicinal significance and to summarize the anticancer activities carried out by these medicinal plants to establish the pharmacological and phytochemical basis of their use. Pakistani anticancer medicinal plants of ethnopharmacological significance were reviewed. Conservation status, worldwide distribution and ethno-botanical preparations of these medicinal plants were also tabulated. These medicinal plants and their isolated phytochemicals were also explored for their anticancer activities. It was revealed that there were 108 anticancer medicinal plants used to treat different neoplastic conditions on the folklore basis throughout Pakistan. Among these anticancer plants, 64 plants were found to be investigated previously for anticancer activity through in vivo and in vitro methods. Several ethnomedicinal plants have been validated for their anticancer activities through in vitro and animal models. These medicinal plants and phytochemicals resulted in the inhibition of initiation, progression or metastasis of neoplasm. Some medicinal plants (10) are endangered species. Half of folkloric Pakistani plants have been validated for use against various cancers through in vitro or in vivo methods. It is necessary to carry out further pharmacological and toxicological evaluation of these folkloric anticancer plants of Pakistan. It is also necessary to identify and isolate further potential phytochemicals so as to be evaluated in cancer patients.


Anticancer plants, Ethnopharmacology, Cancer, Chemoprevention, Metastasis, Phytochemistry, Ethnomedicine


Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Government College University Faisalabad, Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Government College University Faisalabad, Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Sargodha, Sargodha, Department of Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy, the University of Punjab, Lahore

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